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Israel plans 2024 moonshot after first unmanned lander crashed

The new project will involve launching two landing craft and an orbiter that would circle the moon for years.
Image: TOPSHOT-US-ISRAEL-SPACE-MOON-SPACEX
A Falcon 9 launches carrying Israel's Beresheet spacecraft at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Feb. 21, 2019.SpaceX via AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: Reuters

JERUSALEM - Israel will try another unmanned lunar landing in early 2024 after its first attempt ended last year with the spacecraft crashing on the moon’s surface, officials said on Wednesday.

The new project, named “Beresheet 2”, will involve launching two landing craft and an orbiter that would circle the moon for years, conducting experiments and collecting data on behalf of school students, Israel’s Science Ministry said in statement.

Hoping to become the fourth country to carry out a controlled lunar landing, Israel in early 2019 launched “Beresheet” - Hebrew for “Genesis” and the opening words, “In the beginning”, of the biblical book - from Cape Canaveral.

But the dishwasher-sized robotic spacecraft crashed during the final approach, with engineers blaming technical failure.

Like that project, Beresheet 2 will cost around $100 million raised from international partnerships and donors, and will involve state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Israeli non-profit space venture SpaceIL, the ministry said.